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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said an impeachment trial is necessary to hold former President Donald Trump accountable for his alleged conduct postelection and inciting an insurrection.
"If we're going to have unity in our country, it's important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice," Romney told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday. He said Trump's actions involving a call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol "call for a trial."
"I think it is pretty clear that over the last year or so, there has been an effort to corrupt the election and it was not by President (Joe) Biden, it was by President Trump," Romney said. "This is obviously very serious — and an attack on the very foundation of our democracy and it is something that has to be considered and resolved."
An impeachment trial after someone has left office, he said, would be constitutional.
"We're certainly going to have a trial," Romney said. "It's pretty clear that the effort is constitutional."
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for a second time on Jan. 13. It will deliver its articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday. The Senate is set to begin an impeachment trial on Feb. 9.
Romney, R-Utah, who was the only Senate Republican who voted to convict Trump in 2019, said he would hear the prosecution and defense of Trump and "do my best as a Senate juror to apply justice as well as I can understand it."
Romney did not say whether he will vote again to impeach Trump.
It would take 67 votes for the Senate to impeach Trump, requiring the votes of all Senate Democrats and at least 17 Republicans.
"I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?" Romney said during CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. He also said he hopes people will question the origin of the idea that the election was stolen from Trump.
"History will provide a measure of judgment with regards to those that continue to spread the lie that the president began with," he told CNN's Dana Bash. "The reality of this is that this is something that was made up."
Romney said Trump "will continue to have influence" within the GOP, but he said he thinks the party will "return to some of our more fundamental principles," which are: fiscal responsibility, believing in the importance of character and standing with U.S. allies against authoritarians.
"It's important to recognize a new strain in our party that is critical," Romney said. "And that is to communicate more effectively to working men and women that our policies are best designed to help them and give them and their families a better future."